Latino Population Data

The U.S. Census and Latinos

Since 1930, when its idea of counting Latinos was to ask individuals if they were Mexican, the U.S. Census has modified its approach to counting Latinos. For example, in 1970, it asked only samples of the overall population whether  they were, “Mexican,  Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, Other Spanish,” or “No, none of these.” In 1980, it classified Central and South Americans as “other Spanish/Hispanic.” In 1990, it offered subcategories under the “Spanish/Hispanic” umbrella. In 2000, the term “Latino” was introduced to the Census. In 2010, the Census attempted to get a better count of race among Latinos, and as such, it asked the race question before asking about Latino group designations. Note that the U.S. Census has yet to adopt term, “Latinx,” which is gender neutral. In 2020, the U.S. Census is providing the following guidance: 

Hispanic or Latino:

The category “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America, and other Spanish cultures. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Mexican or Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, and Colombian. “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” also includes groups such as Guatemalan, Honduran, Spaniard, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, etc. If a person is not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, answer “No, not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin”.

There are individual checkboxes for people who identify as:

  • Not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
  • Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
  • Puerto Rican
  • Cuban
  • Another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (for example, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian, Guatemalan, Spaniard, Ecuadorian, etc.)
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